INTERIOR, NIGHT. CONFERENCE ROOM, CROWLEY HIGH SCHOOL
(close-up of PTC room wall)
AUSBURY: All in favour?
AUSBURY: All right.
AUSBURY: Starting Monday, the track around the athletic field will be
closed to joggers at 8:30 pm instead of ten.
(He looks up as if at other people, we hear murmurs of assent)
Any other items before we call it a night?
CALCAGNI: Yeah, um, I got wind that for the spring drama productions, Howard Roberts intends to put on Jesus Christ Superstar (Wry amusement).
AUSBURY: You know how he is... Howard's just trying to do things the kids like.
CALCAGNI: My point exactly.
DEBORAH: Um... I don't think that play is appropriate for this high school.
VITARIS: If he wants to be young, I have no problems with "Grease", or "Annie", or...
CALCAGNI: Doesn't "Grease" have the "F" word?
AUSBURY: Look, I'll talk to Howard. OK, let's adjourn till next week. Deborah, why don't you lead us in a prayer?
[He produces a red candle and sets it on the desk as he and Vitaris speak]
VITARIS: Jim -- the game is on.
CALCAGNI: It'll only take a minute. (SIGHS) We've been... letting it slip.
[Ausbury strikes a match to light the candle. We hear faint thunder in the background]
AUSBURY: Paul, why don't you get the door.
Vitaris gets up, camera tracks him to the door then is "shut out" by him. Faint light is visible around door edges.
ALL: In the name of the Lords of Darkness, rulers of the Earth, kings of the Underworld, I command the forces of darkness to bestow their infernal power upon me.
DEBORAH: Sein ist die Hand die verletzt
OTHERS: Sein ist die Hand die verletzt.
CAPTION: HIS IS THE HAND THAT WOUNDS!
DEBORAH: Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle. (OR: Hoelle)
OTHERS: Sein ist der Ort genannt Hölle. (OR: Hoelle)
CAPTION: HIS IS THE PLACE CALLED HELL.
DEBORAH: May the black powers of our forefathers make us strong.
ALL: Hail. Hail the Lords of Darkness.
It is raining heavily. We see four kids walking through the woods, two boys followed by two girls. They are backlit by very strong moonlight coming through the trees. The boys (Jerry Stevens and Dave Duran) are pretty standard grunge types, the girls (Kate and Andrea) standard "nice girl" looks. The girls carry umbrellas. Jerry Stevens is carrying a bulky package in a brown paper bag. During the following exchange they walk up to and past camera.
KATE: How much further?
The boys answer simultaneously
JERRY: Up there a ways.
DAVE: Not far.
JERRY: I heard the altar is a hollowed stump, just up here. OK, when they get freaked, you get Kate, I take Andrea. (Grinning) Those mittens are giving me a Gingrich.
DAVE: OK. I need a personal object from everyone. All right. (They gather round the stump, the girls still hanging on to their umbrellas. Dave produces a black candle from his pocket, stands it up on the stump and lights it)
Now Andrea, you gotta stand over here and face Jerry ... Like this.... (She looks uncertain) Closer.
ANDREA: Why like this?
DAVE: Well that's so... er... so we're calling the spirits up of every direction. OK now Kate, you gotta stand here and face me.
KATE: Do you really think someone used this place for black magic? Or is it just a rumour?
JERRY: (IMPATIENTLY) C'mon Dave!
DAVE: (TO JERRY) Sshh! (He takes a piece of paper, obviously a page torn from a book, from his pocket, and turns to Kate. He begins to read from it, looking in turn at the others. He's really trying to come across as serious about it) In the name of the Lords of Darkness, rulers of the Earth, kings of the Underworld, rise, rise to this place. Ah... Azazal. (Sound like sigh is heard as the candle is blown out. Dave and Andrea look at it, Dave isn't bothered) Know ye all who dwell in the light of professed righteousness that the others who know the keys and the angels have opened the gate.
A sound like groaning voices fills the air; Dave is startled, Kate looks scared. Andrea is scared -- she jumps to hug jerry for protection. Jerry simply grins. Kate and Dave are very uneasy, looking around. Andrea looks down and screams, again and again. Andrea's POV: many rats running around her feet. The others are obviously scared now. Still screaming, andrea runs off into the forest.
JERRY: Forget this! (Runs after Andrea, shouting) Andrea!
Kate is turning to follow them. Dave throws something at the rats which bursts into flame as it hits the ground. He turns and they run after the others.
We see Andrea, sobbing, upset, running, frantically reciting a prayer of some sort. She is practically hysterical.
ANDREA: ....believe in Jesus Holy Mary Mother of God pray for us sinners now and in the hour of our deaths...
JERRY: Andrea! Wait!
He has almost caught her up when a line of flame appears suddenly on the ground. He stumbles and falls to his knees in front of it, blinded by the light. He gets to his feet, shielding his face. A groan-like, animalistic sound is heard. He turns and a thin, bony, cadaverous hand seizes his throat and lifts him up... Up... He is choking.
It is still raining. A gloved hand drops a white tarp to reveal Agent Scully, crouching under an umbrella. She has obviously been looking under the tarp and wears a look of faint disgust.
OAKES: A hunter found him early this morning.
SCULLY: Couldn't have been dead for more than 12 hours.
She straightens up. During the following we see that she and Mulder are standing over what is obviously a body under the tarp. Sheriff John Oakes is standing on the other side of the body, while uniformed police are searching the area in the background. Everyone carries umbrellas. Throughout the discussion Oakes, a worried-looking man in around his early forties, has an air of "I know this sounds crazy but" about him -- he is well shook up, nervous, but serious in his suggestions.
OAKES: They say this arena's used for witches' ceremonies.
OAKES: Well.. everybody... everybody who lives around here knows about the things that go on in this town. They say there are people who control things.
SCULLY: (polite disbelief) Any evidence to substantiate those rumours, Sheriff Oakes?
OAKES: Well, Agent Scully... look at the body... the eyes and heart have been cut out.
Mulder looks on bleakly
SCULLY: Many homicides include victim desecration.
OAKES: I know he and his friends listened to devil music!
MULDER: "The Night Chicago Died"? (He walks away)
OAKES: (Turning to follow Mulder as he moves away) You know what I mean. Heavy Metal bands that influence kids...
Oakes moves to join Mulder, who is walking up to the stump, Scully following.
MULDER: Was Jerry Stevens or his friends ever witnessed participating in witchcraft?
SCULLY: More rumours.
OAKES: (Pointing) This stump here is supposed to be the ceremonial altar. What do you think?
Mulder moves closer to look at it
MULDER: I think with a few turquoise chips, a picture of John Wayne and three cans of shellac it'd make a pretty nice coffee table.
OAKES: Well you see all that wax? Someone's been lighting candles in there.
Under the above, Scully has been examining the bag of bottles Jerry had been carrying. She straightens up, then notices something else, goes over to pick it up. It's the page Dave was holding.
SCULLY: Any idea who Jerry Stevens was with out here?
OAKES: Oh... we assumed he was alone.
SCULLY: Well, most people don't set out to drink two six-packs by themselves. (Mulder nods) I also found this (Holds up page). It has some purple ink on the edge, like a library identification stamp... (CU On page: it's torn and crumpled. We see the end of a title, "in America", on the top, and underneath some words recognisable from the incantation.) ...and the end of the title says "In America". I'm surprised your people overlooked it.
OAKES: I'm sorry, I gotta apologise here. You're... you're right, I admit we're a little...rattled...here. (Hesitantly) That's why I called the FBI. This may involve a deeper conspiracy. (MULDER rolls his eyes) See... I grew up around here. Ever since I was a kid I heard... stories. This is a weird area, it has a strange air that I could chalk up to imagination... till today... (SCULLY hands him the page; he takes it) I'll have my staff start checking libraries for you, Agent Scully.
He walks off. Mulder walks over to Scully.
MULDER: Better hide your Megadeth albums.
SCULLY: Theories like that are why I can't take him seriously.
MULDER: The homicide did have a ceremonial presentation -- the manner in which the body was displayed...
SCULLY: Mulder, I got the impression you didn't believe him either.
MULDER: I didn't want to incite his already clearly aggravated imagination. But there is a weird feel to this place, maybe there is some truth to those rumours.
SCULLY: I think he incited your imagination. I think this case is nothing more than a murderer taking advantage of local folklore. I mean there's nothing odd about -
She is cut off as something falls onto her umbrella, knocking it. Other thuds are heard. Cut to shot from above. Frogs are falling heavily onto the pair's umbrellas. Cut back to the agents -- they look bemused, Mulder looking up, shielding his face, Scully ducking, definitely startled. The thudding stops. Cut to shot of the ground -- many frogs hopping around their feet.
MULDER: So... lunch?
SCULLY: Mulder, toads just fell from the sky! (Looks at him, taken aback)
MULDER: I guess their parachutes didn't open. You were saying something about this place not feeling "odd"?
He walks away. Scully stands still for a moment, then follows him, stepping gingerly over the frogs.
MLS: Mulder is at the loans desk, flicking through a box of library cards. CU on the cards. We see one for Stephen King's "Four Past Midnight", then one for M.R. Krashewski, "Witch Hunt: a history of the occult in America". Mulder starts to lift the card out. Back to the MLS; we see Scully walk into the library and join Mulder.
SCULLY: The National Weather Service says there are tornadoes in Northern Massachusetts. The wind probably picked up the animals into the storm. (Doesn't look totally convinced, despite her words).
CU LIBRARY CARD -- last borrower "DAVE DURAN".
MULDER: "Witch Hunt: A History of the Occult in America". (He hands her the card)
SCULLY: Last checked out to a Dave Duran.
We pan along the benches, pausing briefly by a neat, dark girl (Shannon Ausbury), then along to dave. Dave is edgy, very ill at ease, tapping his equipment with pencils, fidgeting, looking over his shoulder. We follow his gaze and see Kate and Andrea at the back of the classroom. They are also nervous. We hear a school bell ring.
PADDOCK: OK people... People, may I have your attention please. (MCU MRS PADDOCK: A typical plain "old maid" type teacher, floral dress, unflattering hairstyle, glasses on a chain round her neck.) Mr Kingary (???????) is off sick today, so I'll be substituting. My name is Mrs Paddock. I'm going to take the roll...
She is interrupted by a knock at the door. Dave starts up, hearing it. Paddock crosses to open the door. We see Dave's POV: Mulder and Scully, who step a little way into the room. They can only just be heard.
SCULLY: ...FBI, we'd like to speak with a Dave Duran...
Dave, hearing his name, makes a mad dash for the window, clambering over a bench and knocking equipment everywhere as he tries to scramble out head-first. Mulder pelts round after him, catches him as he is half-way through, pulls him back by the legs.
DAVE: (Muffled) Let me go!
CU Dave, frightened, defensive but sticking to his story. Desperate to be believed.
DAVE: I'm not into that stuff at all, I swear. (SIGHS) Jerry was my best friend. Look, I swear, I've never done anything like that.
SCULLY: What made you go to a place you heard was a witches' altar?
Dave turns his head, we follow his gaze and see Kate and Andrea standing together in a corner. He looks back to Scully, who is sitting opposite him.
DAVE: (Sighs) We were just trying to get some.
ANDREA: (Low voice, to Kate) I told you.
Scully and Mulder turn to look at them, then back to dave. Mulder is standing next to and looking out of a window which looks out on a hallway.
SCULLY: Why did you take the book?
DAVE: Because I don't know a thing about witchcraft, and we wanted to make it sound good... but I never thought...
SCULLY: You never thought what?
DAVE: That it would work.
MULDER: (Turns away from window) If you didn't kill Jerry Stevens, why did you run away from us in the classroom?
DAVE: I'm scared, man.
MULDER: Of us?
DAVE: Of it. That ceremony! I'm afraid we called up some devil or something. (SIGHS)
Mcu of Kate and Andrea, eyes downcast, they look scared too. We pan past Dave to see Ausbury, Deborah, Calcagni and Vitaris standing in a close group in the area outside the office, looking in and conferring.
AUSBURY: (Low voice, fierce) One of you killed Jerry Stevens. Who? (He looks at each of them in turn; they all look at each other) He was displayed according to the rites of Azazal. Who else would know about the ritual? We stopped doing this because--
CALCAGNI: I went out there. We were supposed to have a Mass, no-one else showed, so I left.
VITARIS: It wasn't any of us.
CALGAGNI: Something's here... a presence amongst us. Angry, I can feel it.
He stops and looks up as we hear the sound of a door opening. The others look up. As Ausbury turns to see we see their POV: Scully showing Kate, Audrey and finally Dave out of the office. Mulder follows. Ausbury starts forward.
AUSBURY: (Incredulous) You're letting them go?
MULDER: (Shrugging) There's no evidence to warrant an arrest.
He walks toward them, Scully close behind.
DEBORAH: They never leave evidence.
AUSBURY: We heard how Jerry Stevens was killed. An occult ritual.
VITARIS: They've reached into our area from outside.
MULDER: (Aside, to Scully, but audible by the others) "They" again.
AUSBURY: Those three kids are obviously under occult influence.
DEBORAH: They reach into our children. In music, television, books...
CALCAGNI: They prey on children's innocence.
SCULLY: (Can't believe what she's hearing) The FBI recently concluded a seven-year study and found little or no evidence of the existence of occult conspiracies.
CALCAGNI: And J. Edgar Hoover never admitted to the existence of the Mafia. (He half-smirks. The others try to hide smiles)
SCULLY: (Voice rising a little, a bit exasperated but staying reasonable) Look, if the number of murders attributed to occult conspiracies were true, it would mean thousands of people killing tens of thousands of people a year, without evidence, without being exposed... it would be the greatest criminal conspiracy in the history of civilisation.
Ausbury turns to his colleagues, then back. He walks towards Mulder and Scully.
AUSBURY: Finally, you people understand what we're up against.
MULDER: (Looks at Scully, makes quick decision) Our investigation is ongoing.
Mulder reaches to Scully, to draw her away. She goes, but looks back in sheer disbelief at Ausbury. Ausbury looks back at the others.
The agents turn into the corridor. Mulder crosses to a drinking fountain and bends to drink.
SCULLY: (Exasperated) Mulder, this is mass hysteria. And our presence here on a routine homicide only gives validity to their fears of occult murder.
Mulder stops drinking, pauses, notices something. CU to shot of water swirling down drain of drinking fountain.
MULDER: (Half to himself) The water...
SCULLY: What's wrong with it?
MULDER: It's going down the drain counter-clockwise! Coriolis force in the Northern Hemisphere dictates that it should go down clockwise.
SCULLY: That isn't possible.
MULDER: Something's here, Scully. Something is making these things possible.
Scully looks again at the water, puzzled.
School bell sounds in the background. MCU of Mrs Paddock as students file out, passing her papers. Cut to mls from behind her, we see that Kate and Andrea are the last to go.
PADDOCK: Girls... may I have a word? (They look nervous, uncertain, but come over warily. Mrs Paddock is the picture of concern. She says kindly) I heard on the grapevine what happened, and, well, I know how hard it is to talk to adults sometimes, even though you feel like you want to... (The girls have "where is this going" expressions) ...well, because you're young adults... What I'm trying to say is, if you feel like talking, I'm here to listen, ok? (Smiles)
The girls smile wanly.
ANDREA: (Subdued, but genuine) Thanks Mrs Paddock.
Kate murmurs acquiescence.
PADDOCK: Hang in there.
The girls turn and leave. Mrs Paddock straightens the papers in her hand. We follow her hand down as she reaches to her desk drawer, which opens to reveal a dissecting tray containing a fresh and bloody human heart and two eyeballs. She places the papers on top and shuts the drawer. We pan up to see her smiling into the distance.
BRIEF SHOT KIDS WALKING AWAY, SAYING GOODBYES ETC.
CAPTION: CROWLEY HIGH SCHOOL PSYCHOLOGIST'S OFFICE
Scully is at a desk, working at a laptop computer, other staff going about their business around her. Pan past her to the window of Calcagni's office, where we can see Mulder and Calcagni, seated, in conversation.
MULDER: (Looking through notes) Your records indicate a high incidence of students complaining of depression, headaches, eating disorders...?
CALCAGNI: This is high school. (Smiles, nods). It's normal for students to display abnormal behaviour.
MULDER: (Looks up) I'm assuming you're familiar with the early indications of repressed memory?
CALCAGNI: Just because a student has a headache doesn't mean he's repressing a memory.
MULDER: In your counselling you've found no evidence of past ritual abuse?
CALCAGNI: (SHAKES HEAD) None.
Mulder gets up, walks to the door and opens it, then turns back to Calcagni
MULDER: Would it be possible for me to speak to any of the students who've had chronic complaints?
CALCAGNI: That would be a betrayal of the doctor-patient relationship. (Shakes head again) Sorry.
Mulder looks at him thoughtfully, then leaves, shutting the door behind him. Cut to
Mulder coming out of the office, walking round to where Scully is. She continues concentrating on the laptop.
MULDER: For the body of student of complaints, he was pretty quick to dismiss my concerns.
SCULLY: Maybe there's nothing here.
MULDER: (Looks back at the office, then at Scully) Well, he's hiding something.
SCULLY: Take a look at this. (Mulder steps round to look at the screen) I found this on the Internet (Points, runs finger along screen as she speaks. cut to cu of screen: item under newsbytes: current events. Text is dated 1934. Scully reads item as we see it, we cut back to her about halfway through.
SCULLY READS:) "The discovery yesterday of a mutilated teenaged boy in the forest has police officials distressed about the possibility of a conspiratorial organization of Dark Forces."
MULDER: (Interest quickens) Where's that pulled from -- the local paper?
SCULLY: (Reading) "The Jew is known to remove organs and sacrifice teens in their religious ceremonies". (To Mulder) It's taken from "Volkischer Beobacter", a Nazi newspaper in 1934. The rumours are the same, but the blanks have been filled in with whoever must be feared or persecuted at the time. In this case, it's occultists.
Mulder crouches down by the desk, looks at her seriously.
MULDER: Modern witches, known as Wicca, are a religion. They have a great reverence for all life in Nature, they do not cast harmful spells, they don't worship Satan. Even the Church of Satan has renounced murder and torture. Their influence here wouldn't account for the frogs, or the water draining backwards, or most importantly, the murder.
SCULLY: Well, if not witches, then what?
Mrs Paddock is wheeling around a trolley holding a large glass tank filled with what looks like dead piglets. She is doling them out to the students as she goes.
PADDOCK: For your final examination, one-half of your grade will be based on your diagram of a dissected pig embryo. (She hands one to Shannon Ausbury, who looks at it with some revulsion. The boy next to Shannon looks at it uneasily, then back at Shannon who looks faintly ill) Of course, these are actually hog embryos, belonging to the order of the archeodactyl (?????), or creatures with hooves. Be sure to remove the heart and lungs and draw a diagram of each. Be neat. (Mrs Paddock stops her trolley by a glass tank containing a huge snake. She opens the lid and tosses in a dead hog as she talks) Extra credit will be given for dissecting the heart. (We hear student groans in background. She smiles at the snake, then crosses to the front of the room) You have until the end of the period.
Mcu on Shannon, who is now looking quite ill, twitching a little, looks ready to vomit.
BOY: I'll cut it open... if you do the heart.
Shannon nods, can't take her eyes off the hog, closes her eyes as we hear the squelchy sound of it being cut open. Cut to cu of the embryo with its guts showing. Cut back to ecu on Shannon, sweating, her eyes start open, she gasps, makes other noise of distress. Cut to paddock, looking up sharply. Cut back to Shannon, obviously very distressed. Ecu on embryo heart, which beats. Ecu on Shannon, who is gasping as if she cannot breathe. Cu on the embryo, which moves its head from side to side. We hear a squeal which turns into Shannon (in cu) screaming. Brief shot of other kids in the class, startled, looking round. Back to Shannon, who screams again and again. Cut to Paddock, looking on dispassionately. Back to Shannon whose screams are mixed with hysterical sobs. Back to Paddock, who has a knowing look on her face.
Shannon is seated on a couch, wrapped in a blanket, still obviously distressed but quiet now. She rocks gently back and forth, oblivious to everything around her. Paddock is sitting beside her. She reaches out and strokes shannon's hair.
PADDOCK: (KINDLY) I've had this happen before. Some kids just have trouble dissecting things.
CALCAGNI WALKS OVER TO THEM.
CALCAGNI: Shannon -- I'm trying to reach your father and get him to pick you up.
SHANNON: (Becomes aware of surroundings) No!
She jerks back. Mulder and Scully, in a corner of the area, notice immediately. Calcagni crouches down in front of her, takes her hands reassuringly.
CALCAGNI: I'm sure he'll be here soon.
SHANNON: (SHOUTS) No!
She wrenches herself away, gets up, runs out of the office. Mulder follows her.
CALCAGNI: Shannon honey, come back!
PADDOCK: Shannon? Shannon!
Shannon runs down the hall, sobbing wildly. Mulder runs after her.
MULDER: Shannon! You're remembering! (Shannon slows, halts just past the drinking fountain. She is crying again, but more controlled this time. Mulder walks slowly toward her, very concerned. He says softly) Tell me what you're remembering.
Shannon is sitting huddled on one set of benches, facing a very concerned scully sitting opposite her. Mulder stands by scully's side. Shannon's crying and distress escalates during the scene; she has trouble speaking, this is very hard for her. She is clearly finding this very painful.
SHANNON: (SOBBING, HALTINGLY) You know who my stepdad is, right? (MULDER AND SCULLY NOD) Jim Ausbury on the PTC. (DEEP BREATH). All right, well, my Mom, she's a teacher. Well, was a teacher. My real Dad, he uh, he ran away, and my Mom met Jim at some seminar or something... and they um, they got married. My sister and I moved up here when I was about... um, four. She was about two. Anyway... (OVER SHOT OF SCULLY, VERY CONCERNED, LISTENING) ... a, a couple of weeks ago, my class, we took a field trip to what they call the American Stonehenge... and... and.. I remembered when I was four years old, Jim took me in his car near there, and he um... he made me... in the back seat... (MULDER AND SCULLY EXCHANGE GLANCES; SHANNON'S DISTRESS INCREASING) ...he told me that if I ever told anybody that he would hurt me... As he touched me, well, I would pretend that I was like, out of my body. Deep in the ocean, down with the fish, in the dark water... Somehow, I don't know, I managed to block out all these things, but... lately it's all been... I'm remembering, you know? The others too.
Mulder looks quickly at her, then back to Shannon
SHANNON: ...Yeah... Men and women. They would... come to the house, you know, when my Mom was away? And they would.. uh... take me down to the basement... (BRIEF SHOT OF MULDER, LISTENING DISPASSIONATELY) It was really dark... it was like painted red, with a dirt floor. They would wear these robes, black and red and they would... sing, and they would chant, and then they would tie me and my sister up, these men and women... they would make us... do things. They called me a breeder! (RENEWED TEARS) They would get me pregnant, and then they would kill the babies... (SCULLY LOOKS AT MULDER, HER EXPRESSION UNREADABLE) ...I've had three children, and they're all buried in the cellar. (MULDER LOWERS HIS EYES) One night, Jim murdered my sister for a sacrifice. She was only eight years old! He told everybody that she died in an accident. (SCULLY MOVES TO SIT BESIDE HER; MULDER NOW LOOKS PAINED, THE STORY HAS TOUCHED A NERVE IN HIM) ...Today brought it all back, clear like it happened yesterday...
SHE MOVES TOWARD SCULLY, WHO HOLDS HER AS SHE GOES INTO A FRESH BURST OF SOBBING.(ad break)
A QUIET, SUBURBAN STREET. MULDER AND SCULLY'S CAR PULLS INTO THE AUSBURY'S DRIVEWAY, WE HEAR THEIR VOICES OVER.
MULDER: Imagine... if what she said is true...
SCULLY: Why don't we just wait and see what her parents have to say?
The car stops, they get out and walk towards the front door. They get about halfway along the path when the door opens and Jim Ausbury hurries out to meet them. Mrs Ausbury is visible behind him. She stays in the doorway, hugging her cardigan to her.
AUSBURY: (WORRIED, AGITATED) Where's Shannon? They told me you were bringing her home.
SCULLY: She wanted to remain with friends. And... under the circumstances, we thought it best.
AUSBURY: Circumstances? Why wouldn't she want to come home?
LIVING ROOM, AUSBURY RESIDENCE
Cu Ausbury, clearly very shaken. Mrs Ausbury's sobbing can be heard in the background.
AUSBURY: Someone, or something, has obviously put these things into her mind.
He looks at Mulder, who catches Scully's eye and nods silently towards the kitchen.
SCULLY: Mrs Ausbury? Er, perhaps you'd like a glass of water.
We see Mrs Ausbury, overcome, sobbing quietly. She manages a tiny nod. She is barely audible.
MRS AUSBURY: ...Yes, thank you...
Makes visible effort to pull herself together. Mls of room, we see that the ausbury's are sitting side by side on a couch, Scully sitting on a chair opposite them, Mulder standing to one side of Jim Ausbury.
MULDER: Mr Ausbury?
He motions toward the kitchen. Ausbury looks at his wife in concern, he clearly doesn't want to leave her, but gets up and walks out of shot. Mulder follows. Mrs Ausbury is left hugging herself nervously, still upset but calmer. Scully shifts in her seat.
SCULLY: Mrs Ausbury... your daughter has not accused you of any involvement in these activities. (MRS AUSBURY SHAKES HER HEAD SLIGHTLY) Do you have any idea why Shannon might have said these things?
MRS AUSBURY: (SIGHS) Jim and I have been having... marriage problems, lately... we're committed to working them out. Maybe we haven't been... paying enough attention to Shannon. (PAUSES AS IF DECIDING WHETHER TO SPEAK FURTHER) She and I don't... we don't get along. We fight.
SCULLY: Have you ever known Shannon to be pregnant?
MRS AUSBURY: Of course not! (DEFENSIVE) She's fifteen years old! How can you possibly believe such--
SCULLY: Have you ever had another child?
MRS AUSBURY: (VISIBLY STARTLED, NODS) A girl. Theresa... (QUIET) She died.
SCULLY: At eight years old?
MRS AUSBURY: (SHAKING HER HEAD GENTLY, IN AN OLD SADNESS) Eight weeks. (SOFT) It was crib death.
Cu glass under tap, overflowing. A hand turns the tap off, pan up to Ausbury's face. Mulder stands behind him, walks closer.
MULDER: Did you do it?
Ausbury turns to look at him, the beginnings of shock and anger on his face. The glass in his hand shatters, the noise startling them both. He drops the remainder of the glass into the sink.
AUSBURY: (CONTROLLED, BUT VERY ANGRY) I would kill anyone who did the things to her that she claims.
He turns and walks to the other side of the kitchen, begins cleaning his hand up on a teatowel. Mulder's attention is caught by something out of shot on the opposite side of the room. He walks toward it.
MULDER: That's not a very Christian tenet.
We see him over by a wooden door. He opens it. Ausbury doesn't notice.
AUSBURY: Thou -- God of Vengeance -- shine forth. (BITTERLY)
MULDER'S POV: LOOKING DOWN A FLIGHT OF STEPS INTO A CELLAR.
MULDER: Even the Devil can quote scripture to fit his needs.
Ausbury turns and sees what Mulder is doing. The door slams shut by itself, startling Mulder. Ausbury doesn't seem to notice. He is furious, shouting.
AUSBURY: How dare you! Get out of our house! (GESTURES ABRUPTLY). As far as I know, you put those ideas in my daughter's head. Now get -- out! (MULDER, LOOKING LESS CERTAIN THAN BEFORE, MOVES TO LEAVE. AUSBURY WATCHES HIM GO) The Devil travels in many forms. And you may be one!
MCU MRS PADDOCK, LOOKING CONCERNED.
PADDOCK: (KINDLY) Are you sure you're up to this, Shannon? I heard about what you said.
Shannon is at her bench, with a fresh hog embryo on a tray in front of her. Mrs Paddock stands on the other side of the bench.
SHANNON: I'll be OK. (SMILES BRAVELY) I don't want to miss the final. (PADDOCK SMILES)
PADDOCK: I'll be in my office, if you're feeling funny. (THEY EXCHANGE SMILES, PADDOCK STARTS TO WALK OUT THEN TURNS BACK) Maybe you ought to remove your jewelry. You wouldn't want to lose it in some pig's guts. (SHANNON GRINS, TAKES OFF HER BRACELET AND HANDS IT OVER) I'll hold it for you until you're finished.
Paddock walks back to her office. Shannon breathes deeply, steels herself for the job. Cut to her pov of the embryo on the tray. Cut to Shannon again; over her shoulder, we can see Paddock in her office, looking out. She closes the venetian blinds.
Cu of a candle, flickering. A hand rises in front of it and stops just over the flame. It is holding Shannon's charm bracelet. We hear weird animalistic groans. Pan up to Mrs Paddock's face. She is sweating, eyes staring fixedly, breathing in a laboured and weird-sounding way.
Shannon looks down at the embryo. She seems strangely calm, almost as if she is making a decision. She picks up a scalpel and looks at it.
Groans, breathing noises etc. Paddock's other hand, shaking, rises from her desktop. She brings it up slowly in front of her face, then pinches the thumb and forefinger together as if she is holding something between them.
Cu Shannon's hand with scalpel, held between her thumb and forefinger, echoing paddock's gesture.
Paddock lowers the hand until it rests under the wrist of the hand over the flame.
CU Shannon's hand with the scalpel, moving to rest gently against the underside of her other wrist.
CU Paddock's face, then her hand as she makes a violent slashing gesture under her outstretched wrist. Cu on her face as we hear a scream from outside. Cut to bracelet falling onto desktop; the scream seems to die as it lands.
Curving pan from above, showing Shannon sprawled face down on the floor of the lab, her stool knocked over, pig embryo and tray on the floor next to her, blood pooling under her wrist. The sound of Paddock's breathing subsides as we get closer to Shannon.
Lightning and thunder going on outside, the flashes visible even in the lit room, which is full of policemen examining things. Scully is talking to a seemingly distraught Mrs Paddock and making notes. Mulder is examining the snake's tank. He straightens up and looks over at Scully and Paddock.
PADDOCK: (UPSET) I heard the crash, and the chair, and came running out of the office.
SCULLY: Did you see anybody leaving the room? (Mulder looks over at her again, then walks towards her office. Paddock doesn't notice; she shakes her head in response to Sscully's questioning) Did you hear the door open?
PADDOCK: I lock the doors after school, when I'm alone. I... I get afraid.
Mulder wanders in, looks around. He notices shannon's bracelet on the desk and picks it up.
Ausbury, Deborah, Vitaris and Calcagni are standing in the rain, huddled under umbrellas, watching the police cars and other activity near the school.
DEBORAH: I feel a dark angel is amongst us. It wants a sacrifice.
VITARIS: (INCREDULOUSLY) It's been years since we've done that.
CALCAGNI: Exactly. Exactly. We haven't kept our faith.
AUSBURY: (SHAKEN, ANGRY) Are any of you... responsible... for my daughter? (HE DOES NOT LOOK AT THEM AS HE ASKS)
CALCAGNI: We all are. (AUSBURY LOOKS SHARPLY AT HIM) She was sacrificed... (HE LOOKS INTENTLY AT EACH OTHER MEMBER OF THE GROUP AS HE SPEAKS) ...for us. It's a portent. Shannon's death allows us to get rid of the police, the FBI... it can all be blamed on her. (AUSBURY IS SPEECHLESS)
DEBORAH: Jim. You tell them she had a thing for Jerry Stevens. She killed him out of jealousy.
VITARIS: (SLOWLY, AS IF THINKING IT OUT AS HE SPEAKS) She cut out his eyes, because she couldn't stand to have him look at another girl. And his heart, because she was heartbroken. (AUSBURY IS STONE-FACED)
CALCAGNI: When they leave, and they're gone, we must rekindle our faith rather than lose it.
LIGHTNING FLASHES, ILLUMINATING AUSBURY. THUNDER AS HE TURNS AND STARES AT THE OTHERS.
MCU PADDOCK, WET-EYED, TEAR TRACKS ON HER CHEEKS.
PADDOCK: I never imagined she would hurt herself like that. I'm old-fashioned, Agent Scully, I can't bring myself to believe children are capable of such things as they are these days. (She looks away, stifles a sob. Scully remains impassive. Paddock notices mulder who has returned and is holding Shannon's bracelet. He looks up, meets her gaze) She wanted me to hold that for her.
Mulder looks again at the bracelet, then motions silently to Scully.
SCULLY: (TO PADDOCK) Excuse me...
She puts her pen down on a bench, then walks away with Mulder. They speak quietly.
MULDER: Her office has a faint odour of incense. (LOOKS BACK AT THE DISTRAUGHT PADDOCK).
SCULLY: She says it's to block the smell of formaldehyde.
MULDER: It's also used in Black Mass rituals.
SCULLY: Well, I've got to admit there are some oddities to her story.
MULDER: What do you mean, oddities?
SCULLY: Well, the man she replaced has taken two sick days in a fifteen-year career. The morning of Jerry Stevens' murder Mr Kingary (???) developed necrotizing fasciitis.
MULDER: Flesh-eating bacteria? (APPRECIATIVELY) That's very rare.
SCULLY: I know. And when I questioned the other staff members about Mrs Paddock's background, no-one can even recall hiring her. (Big lightning crash. They both look up, startled, then back at each other. Cut to Paddock staring over at them. She turns back to look at the bench in front of her, slowly focusing on Scully's pen) Oh, look, I'm even getting caught up in this. I mean I'm... I'm sure that Mrs Paddock's arrival and the teacher's sickness is just a coincidence. And the fact that no-one can recall hiring her -- it's just a bureaucratic oversight.
MULDER: No, I've got a feeling this is something we both should get caught up in. I'm going to get a search warrant for the Ausbury house -- I've been told they're staying with friends. (HE GLANCES OVER AT PADDOCK) You check deeper into Mrs Paddock.
MORE LIGHTNING. THIS TIME THE LIGHTS GO OUT.
COP: Power's out.
Mrs Paddock reaches forward and grabs the pen, holding it in both hands as she watches Mulder and Scully.
It is very dark. Mulder enters with his flashlight, walks over
to the cellar door, noting it is bolted shut. He opens it, shines
his torch down the staircase and goes down.
CELLAR, AUSBURY RESIDENCE
Mulder reaches the bottom of the steps and walks around the cellar, shining the light around. We see that it has a dirt floor and red walls. He turns sharply. Ausbury is standing behind him.
Scully is working on her laptop again. The light from the computer and occasional lightning flashes are the only illumination. Cu of the compter screen reveals she is doing a name search for "Paddock, Phyllis H." the computer searches, then comes up with the results "prior arrests: none" and "outstanding warrants: none". Cu Sscully, "hmm"-ing, deep in thought.
Ausbury is looking at the wall, Mulder stands impassively behind him.
AUSBURY: My religion, my family, Agent Mulder, goes back in this town seven generations. They fled persecution from people being persecuted, all in the name of religion. (SAID WITH DISTASTE. HE TURNS TO FACE MULDER) I was raised to believe Christianity was synonymous with hypocrisy. Man's natural tendency was to do as thou wilst, not do unto others. (HE WALKS SLOWLY PAST MULDER. MULDER TURNS, WATCHING HIM) We believe... Man is nothing but an animal, no better, no worse, than those who walk on four legs. And though I believed our faith kept us powerful in the community, wealthy, good health, I... I came to see hypocrisy in the others. (HE TURNS TO LOOK AT MULDER) In me. (EMPHATICALLY) When they told me to blame my dead daughter for Jerry Stevens' death, my reaction... I was sick that they would villify an innocent... someone I loved... (BECOMING EMOTIONAL) just to protect themselves. And at that moment, I knew... I am better than an animal! That my... previous beliefs were responsible... for her no longer being with us. And that it was time to talk to you.
MULDER NODS SYMPATHETICALLY.
Lightning, thunder. Paddock is in animalistic groaning mode again, holding Scully's pen over the candle.
Cu scully looking thoughtfully at the laptop. Cu screen, showing the results of a work search on Paddock. There is a list of legitimate-looking teaching jobs stretching from 1974 to the present.
SCULLY: (TO HERSELF) Clean.
41. INT. NIGHT. PADDOCK'S OFFICE
Paddock's hand over the candle. Groans, breathing, shaking, sweating as before.
Mulder is pacing up and down. Ausbury looks resolved, somehow at peace.
MULDER: Did you abuse Shannon?
AUSBURY: (EMPHATIC) Never sexually.
MULDER: The rituals.
AUSBURY: (SIGHS). The blood of the young is considered very powerful. We'd include them in the ceremonies... against their will. (MULDER LOOKS AWAY IN DISGUST) They were too young to be trusted not to talk. (EMPHATIC) But we never physically hurt them. We'd slip over the ancient rituals that we didn't want to do.
MULDER: Like... drinking grape juice instead of wine at Communion? (AUSBURY HALF-NODS, WALKS AWAY) What about Shannon's memories? (AUSBURY TURNS BACK.)
AUSBURY: We'd perform a sort of post-hypnotic suggestion that repressed their memories. (MULDER DISGUSTED AS BEFORE) When they came of age, eighteen, twenty- one, then they were made aware of the religion, and brought into its practice. When she recalled the past events, she must have mixed up reality with... with that crap that's on Geraldo and the tabloids.
MULDER: Did the others kill Jerry Stevens? (AUSBURY SHAKES HIS HEAD) Shannon?
AUSBURY: (TINIEST OF PAUSES, BUT ANSWERS EMPHATICALLY) No.
MULDER: But you are responsible. You knew the possibilities contained in your beliefs, no matter how watered down. (AUSBURY IS IMPASSIVE, STONY-FACED) Did you really think you could call up the Devil and ask him to behave?
Paddock, groaning, breathing etc, stretches out a hand stiffly and knocks the receiver off her telephone. She jerkily stabs out a sequence of numbers, then picks up the receiver.
MULDER: Who are the others? (MULDER'S PHONE RINGS TWICE. HE HAULS IT OUT OF HIS POCKET EXASPERATEDLY) Yeah? (WE HEAR SCULLY'S VOICE, FAINT AND SCARED)
SCULLY: Mulder... the school... I'm in trouble.
WE HEAR A BUZZ OF STATIC, AND SHE IS CUT OFF
MULDER: Scully? (HE PACKS THE PHONE AWAY) I've got an emergency. (He takes Ausbury by the arm and leads him unprotestingly to the staircase) I'm placing you under arrest. (He handcuffs ausbury to the bannister and puts his torch down on the stairs) I'll be back for you later.
He dashes up the stairs, closes the door and bolts it. Ausbury watches him go.
Mulder runs out of the front door, gets into the car and backs it out of the driveway in a tearing hurry.
Ausbury, sitting on the floor next to the stairs, is crying. He is the picture of despair. The camera pans up his cuffed arm to the top of the stairs. Cut to cu of the bolt, which suddenly slides open. Mcu of the door creaking quietly open; there is nobody there. Ausbury does not notice. cu top step: the snake from the lab slides into view and starts making its way down the stairs. We follow it down, watching past Ausbury who remains unaware of it until it slides over his right shoulder and around his neck. He yells in fright and tries to shake it off, but it winds around and around his neck and body. We see him trying to pull it off, then hear him starting to choke; faint cracking sounds can be heard, implying his bones being crushed perhaps.
Mulder's car pulls up. He leaps out, and runs into the building, getting his gun out as he goes.
CELLAR, AUSBURY RESIDENCE
Cu on Ausbury's face as he chokes, bone noises still evident. He is finally still. The snake slides down onto the cellar floor, then turns to face Ausbury's foot and widens its jaws.
Mulder, gun out, opens the door and enters the reception area. Scully is still at the desk.
SCULLY: (LOOKS UP, STARTLED) Mulder! What's wrong?
MULDER: (LOWERING GUN) You called me! You said you were in trouble.
SCULLY: No, I didn't touch the phone. (MULDER LOOKS BEMUSED.)
Cu on the snake's head, atop a hideously engorged body, as it closes its mouth.
Cu on Paddock's face, she looks almost in pain. She holds the candle up to her face, licks her lips quickly, then opens her eyes. They are not human. At first they look almost black, but we then see the pupils are oval, like cat's eyes. Ecu on one showing blotchy red and blue iris, strange and disturbing patterns.
Long shot showing that Mulder and Scully's car is back in the drive.
KITCHEN, AUSBURY RESIDENCE
Long shot from the kitchen showing the view to the hall. We see flashlights, then Mulder and Scully coming through to the kitchen.
MULDER: Ausbury confessed to conspiracy. He was going to give up the names of everybody involved, parents, teachers...
SCULLY: I checked on Mrs Paddock's background. I don't think she's involved.
Cu of Mulder's face as he pauses, cut to follow his torch as it shows the cellar door is ajar. He looks at Scully, pulls out his gun, advances carefully to the door. Mulder knocks it aside, goes downstairs. Scully follows.
CELLAR, AUSBURY RESIDENCE
Cu of handcuffs, still attached to the bannister but now empty. Ausbury has vanished. Mulder and Scully reach the cellar floor and shine their lights around. Mulder's light picks out a crushed and bloody skeleton, folded in on itself, about a metre away. They go over to it, both crouch down.
SCULLY: My God. (FASCINATED) You think that's some kind of acid?
Mulder turns, shines his torch on the stair posts.
MULDER: There's no evidence of any reaction of the wood from the acid. (HE TURNS BACK) There are tracks in the dirt... they're from a snake.
SCULLY: (BRUSHING HAIR BACK, DISBELIEF) That's impossible! It would take a large python hours to consume and weeks to digest a human being.
MULDER: You really do watch the Learning Channel. (HE GETS UP, GOES TO PICK SOMETHING UP FROM THE FLOOR. HE HOLDS IT UP, PLAYING HIS TORCH OVER IT) Scully. (SHE TURNS TO LOOK) Snakeskin.
SCULLY: (PAUSES BRIEFLY) There's a python in Paddock's room.
CONFERENCE ROOM, CROWLEY HIGH SCHOOL
Cu on ptc plaque as in opening shot, different angle. Lighting, thunder etc subsequent shots reveal the office is lit by three candles.
VITARIS: (MATTER OF FACTLY) Sheriff Oakes called me. Jim Ausbury is dead. He was talking to the FBI.
DEBORAH: (IMPASSIVE) Did they kill him?
CALCAGNI: (SEEMS JUST SLIGHTLY AGITATED, BUT IN CONTROL) You know who killed him. Ausbury was no believer. He had no real faith, no devotion. He was punished for his doubts. (HE LOOKS BETWEEN THEM) We have to act. Or the same thing will happen to us. If it's not already too late.
DEBORAH: (SWALLOWING -- SHE LOOKS RATTLED FOR THE FIRST TIME) We have to assume Jim told them who we are.
CALCAGNI: (CALM, RATIONAL) If Mulder knows, it will make the offering all the more meaningful.
THEY LOOK AT EACH OTHER. A FAINT MOTOR NOISE OUTSIDE IS HEARD. DEBORAH CROSSES TO THE WINDOW AND LOOKS OUT. WE SEE HER POV: MULDER AND SCULLY'S CAR ARRIVING.
DEBORAH: They're here. (Vitaris blows out the candles. Calcagni crosses to the door, Deborah and Vitaris follow him. Calcagni opens the door) Lock the office.
CALCAGNI FEELS AROUND IN HIS JACKET.
CALCAGNI: No keys. (SLIGHT NOTE OF PANIC) They were in my pocket!
Pan through the lab, showing furniture overturned, equipment broken, to door, which opens. Mulder and Scully step through. Choking groans can be heard. Mulder goes one way, Scully another. Scully notices something.
SCULLY: Mulder. (Paddock is lying on the floor next to the bench with the snake's tank on it. The tank is broken and empty. Scully crosses to her, Mulder follows. They both crouch down) Mrs Paddock? What happened?
Paddock is bleeding from the nose. Her glasses have been knocked to the floor beside her, she is clutching her abdomen. She speaks feebly and is wild-eyed.
PADDOCK: I... I... I came back... they were taking the snake...(As she speaks, Mulder and Scully are making their coats into a makeshift pillow and blanket for her) Miss Brown, Mr Vitaris... there are things about them I learned, I must tell you... I think they killed that boy!
Mulder has his phone out and is waiting for a response
MULDER: We know about that.
PADDOCK: (WHISPERING, LOOKING ROUND WILDLY) Conference room... it's all there!
THE PHONE IS BUSY. MULDER PUTS IT AWAY AS HE SPEAKS.
MULDER: Paramedics must be tied up by the storm. You just stay there, Mrs Paddock. I'm going to lock the door.
HE TAKES HIS FLASHLIGHT AND HURRIES OFF.
SCULLY: Just stay still. We'll be back.
She hurries after mulder. Cu on Paddock, lit by storm. She stops shaking and lies almost inanimately still.
HALL OUTSIDE CONFERENCE ROOM
Mulder and Scully approach the conference room door. Scully knocks it open, Mulder enters, gun at the ready. The room appears empty. Satisfied it appears safe, they both go in.
Mulder shines his torch around, keeping his gun ready. Scully puts her light down, tries the drawers of filing cabinets with no luck. She crosses to the desk and opens the drawer. cu on contents: a glass jar containing eyeballs. She picks it up, holds it so Mulder can see. He shines the torch on it, motions for her to come closer. She walks over to him, holds it in the torch beam. They look at each other. Scully is about to say something when a bright light and loud crash sound behind Mulder. He turns just in time to be hit with a chair held by Vitaris. He stumbles and knocks into a set of bookshelves which falls on Scully. She cries out as she is knocked to the floor. Vitaris charges at Mulder again, but overshoots and runs into the desk. Mulder grabs him, slams him down onto the desk and hits him. Scully scrabbles for her gun, but Deborah appears, snatches it and trains it on Scully, who goes still, hands held over her face. Mulder and Vitaris are trading punches. Vitaris goes down, but Mulder is felled from behind by Calcagni, who has belted him on the head with his own torch. Calcagni looks down at him.
Deborah walks across the gym, dragging Scully behind her. Scully's hands are tied behind her back, and her legs are tied together. Vitaris appears dragging mulder, similarly tied. They make for a door on the other side of the gym. Calcagni follows, torch in one hand and shotgun in the other.
Calcagni turns the water on in two stalls. Water flows out full-bore; Mulder and Scully, lying on the tiles, cough and splutter as it hits them. Mulder is bleeding from a head wound.
CALCAGNI: It'll make the blood easier to clean up.
Shot of Deborah and Vitaris looking down at the agents. Deborah raises her hands to eye level. She is clasping a large, ceremonial, dagger.
DEBORAH: Dominus Inferus Vobisum!
CALCAGNI/VITARIS: Et conferum (?????)
They shine their torches on Mulder and Scully. Deborah moves over to Mulder and kneels. She raises the dagger higher, preparing to strike. We hear the shotgun being cocked in the background.
DEBORAH: Zeine ist die hand die verletzt. (Paul raises the gun and aims it) Forum dubai (????) (She brings the dagger down sharply. We hear a shot)
Paddock groaning, breathing etc; hand over candle
Calcagni cracks open the gun and the spent cartridges pop out onto the floor. He reaches into his pocket for more ammunition. He is staring fixedly downwards. Cut to Mulder and Scully, both still alive, struggling, turning to look up at him. Back to Calcagni, who raises the gun, up, up until it is pointing at his own head. Cut to Mulder and Scully, who exclaim in horror and look away. A flash, a shot rings out.
Cu of a set of keys dropping onto the desk. Cu Paddock through the candle flame.
PADDOCK: You're right. It is already too late. SHE BLOWS OUT THE CANDLE.(ad break)
MULDER AND SCULLY ARE STRUGGLING TO GET FREE.
SCULLY: Oh God... Mulder, did you see his face? (HE NODS, SHE CAN'T SEE HIM) It was as if something else had control of him.
Mulder and Scully, now free, soaked, come into the lab, looking around.
SCULLY: Mrs Paddock? (Mulder walks to where they left her. There is no sign of her, only their coats) Mulder.
Mulder goes over to her. She is at the blackboard. Mulder shines his torch where she is looking. There is writing on the board. We pan with the light along the words... "Goodbye. It's been nice working with you." Mulder and Scully look at each other. The power suddenly returns. They switch off their torches and look around the room, which is a mess, stools, racks etc knocked over, equipment smashed and broken. They turn back to the board, then back to each other.
[Fade to black]